Washington lobbyists spend a record
WASHINGTON - The old jab about the United States having the best democracy money can buy still has merit, according to a report out this month.
For every day Congress was in session last year, lobbyists spent an average of US$17 million currying favor with legislators and federal officials, the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) said in its report.
Corporations, labor unions, governments and other interests spent a record-setting $2.79 billion last year in hopes of influencing policy, the group said.
This marked a 7.7%, or $200 million, increase over 2006, also a bumper year for the influence industry. "At a time when our economy is contracting, Washington's lobbying industry has been expanding," said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the 25-year-old watchdog group. "
Lobbying seems to be a recession-proof industry.
In some respects, interests seek even more from our government when the economy slows." Their efforts get results. The National Education Association (NEA), the largest US teachers' union, succeeded in blocking reauthorization of President George W Bush's 2001 "No Child Left Behind" law governing the running and judging of schools nationwide...
...The NEA spent $9.2 million, a 464% increase. CRP said it presumed the teachers' union concentrated its lobbying efforts on "No Child Left Behind".